Common Obstacles to Accessing Health Care Records — And How to Deal With Them

From medical malpractice cases to sheer curiosity, a variety of situations and circumstances may prompt you to seek access to critical health care records. Unfortunately, these can prove surprisingly difficult to obtain — even when the need for access is urgent. Below, we highlight a few obstacles you may face along the way, as well as viable solutions:

Noncompliance With HIPAA And Other Regulations

A variety of rules and regulations promise to improve patient access to medical records, but far too many hospitals and clinics remain noncompliant. Many patients are never informed of their rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

Confusion Regarding Record Formats

Different record formats may hold different policies regarding patient release. This can prompt considerable confusion, especially as release formats could include everything from email and online portals to in-person pickup or even fax. Often, patients have no idea which records are available in which formats or how they should proceed with securing a specific type of access.

Excessive Fees

Medical facilities are technically allowed to charge modest fees to cover the time and effort required to secure records. Often, however, these fees are far from modest. Depending on the hospital in question, the cost of obtaining a hypothetical 200 pages of medical records could reach hundreds of dollars — a prohibitive expense for most patients.

It’s rarely easy to secure access to medical files, but these records could make all the difference in your medical malpractice case. Your attorney can access the strategic evidence needed to prove your case. Contact Regan Zambri Long PLLC for more information.